Yay. I managed to send an email. All by myself. Sometimes it is the little things that make you happy. :)

In this case it was to figure out in what config file a "tls on" was missing, after first working out that was indeed the reason NeoMutt wouldn't send. :)

@mathias So what makes NeoMutt so much better than Mutt?

(guy living in mutt+vim since 20 years and too lazy to change his habits, but occasionally contemplating that the grass might be greener elsewhere)


I honestly have no real idea, I only know the theory behind it: NeoMutt is more rapidly and consistently developed. All their changes are suggested upstream and in many cases included in to Mutt. NeoMutt is like a stable development branch of Mutt you might say, even though that might sound like an oxymoron, hehe.

For me, not being a well-versed user of either, and installing from afresh, it made most sense to install NeoMutt.

@mathias Well, if you’ll get frustrated with config and feel a need for a potential acceleration in finding a solution, drop me a line. Maybe I’ll be able to help, even though my mutt setup is very stable in a particular spot since many years, so I probably don’t know about all the fancy edge features.

@FailForward the one thing I shall be looking for after my next meeting will be how to strip, or turn off, html in received e-mails to increase readability. It is probably in there, but pressing "?" gives me reading for days, hehe.

If you have other tips on good cli tools I'm all ears btw. I'm setting up my linux box to manage most of my tasks in cli. So far I have khal (calendar), neomutt (mail), nb (notes/knowledge base/bookmarks) etc but there might be things I've missed as I haven't explored these things much over the last 10 years.

@mathias re html and other rich content in mutt: check here: git.qoto.org/-/snippets/188

Specifically in your case, the line

text/html; elinks -dump %s && rm -f %s.html ; copiousoutput

I guess you’ll find out how to proceed from there.

@mathias And of course man mailcap and man mutt are your friends too.

@mathias re other cli tools: I’d say: don’t push it too much. After two decades of living in and playing with these setups, my personal conclusion is that some things are simply better in windows-like UI, so I invest in integration of CLI/terminal tools (mutt, vim, etc.) with desktop apps, rather than pushing the cli experience to useless places. What I care a lot for, though, is that my storage formats are portable (maildirs instead of mailbox, markdown instead of anything else, WebDAV/CalDAV etc. for sync, rather than proprietary stuff, etc.)

But to answer the question:

  • neomutt gives you mailbox search capabilities. For that I use old mairix (+cron indexing every night), not perfect but still works for me
  • for todo lists and tasks management from CLI, you might want to check taskwarrior, but I personally go Seamonkey+Lightning way
  • for passwords management you can go pass
  • well, and of course if you are not a vim person (like I am), orgmode is the swiss knife for anything you might ever need for your notes, todolists, etc. After all that emacs thingy is an operating system of its own anyway. Or so I’ve heard :-).

Either way, I derive the most value from deep reading of ssh and gnupg manuals. There’s HUGE amount of stuff possible when you look into seamless integration of tools at remote vs. local.

@mathias Oh, I forgot, in the taskwarrior ecosystem, I found vit a very exciting project. I later abandoned it, but it’s good and promising.


Cool, thanks! I shall look in to all of that! :)

But yes, I know what you are saying. In all actuality I use "all" the platforms. At work, which is very locked down for security reasons, I'm on Windows. I'm typing this on my 5k Retina iMac and when I'm talking about cli tools for Linux (Manjaro in my case) that is my second machine next to this one, which mostly handles everything in my home when it comes to media serving etc. I wouldn't dream of doing photo/video/design editing on the linux box; that is WHY I have the iMac in the first place. :)

However, I do like challenges, and I am aiming to get to my old dream machine I used to have at work, but in a smaller version, which is basically a minimal (Manjaro) Linux install, based on XFCE but using Xmonad for windowhandling. That means I can run "regular" desktop apps, should I choose to. But it looks so much cooler with an all-out cli view. Also, it fills my need for tinkering and problem solving that is "outside" of my regular problem solving (work/family related etc).

There is also a privacy/security reason behind my tinkering, and like you say, I have started falling back more and more to "the basics". Getting fed up with "productivity tools" and their flaky-at-best or privacy-intruding synchronization between platforms, started falling back more and more to things like "why don't I just use git?" and "hey, I can actually store both Notes and Todo/Reminders on my IMAP account, and they get picked up by my iOS devices as well as my wifes Android!".

I have been looking at Taskwarrior and have yet to decide if I should go down that route (as it doesn't strike me as cross-platform portable) or if I should go down Todoman (which saves todo's in ical format) etc.

@mathias @FailForward
This thread is pure gold for looking into cli software :D
Do you people use cli most of the time our of principle or is it a habit? I found myself using a lot of vim and terminal-based tools for personal stuff, but uni and other places still require word documents and stuff :(


Do you people use cli most of the time our of principle or is it a habit?


Ideologies are bad for your health
– me, right now

For me it’s an emergent phenomenon. Retrospectively, I think I was always optimizing for the speed of my usage of computers. In effect, I want my UX be about as fast (not necessarily faster - for instance I am not a touch typist) as my mind goes. Second force in my relevant fragment of life is that I am a lazy bastard, so I want to automate repetitive boring crap. The consequence of these two forces was that over time I gravitated towards using keyboard as the primary peripheral device with mouse only the second. And once you get to that place, terminal and things like vim or mutt start to make much more sense than other things. I can respond to an e-mail and have it GPG signed with Yubikey faster than many even load Thunderbird, or whatever Gmail tab you have. I care for that. It pays of to shave off 10 seconds off of a activity you do 100x a day.

But as I said above, oftentimes I then discovered that going pure terminal has problems: either crappy UX of those apps, or missing features (for instance now I am typing this into the tiny text box on Qoto Mastodon, rather then toot gui, because toot turns out to miss too many things - funny enough, among others, comfortable keyboard UX despite it being TUI app). And when I discover that, I then typically look for a desktop version of what I need. Primary concern is that I can either natively handle it with keyboard, or can force it to be like that (shortcuts, macros, etc.). But some things just don’t submit to this. I am an avid Firefox user rather whatever vimperator stuff).

P.S. Did you know you can handle Mastodon UI (at least on Qoto) largely by keyboard? Check the “Hotkeys” link in the left sidebar.


@FailForward @mathias
I use mastodon on my phone
to reply most of the time and on PC I type new stuff every morning, there really aren’t any hotkeys I could use. But yeah, good to know.

@academicalnerd @FailForward

For me it is a mixture of reasons, where I think the main one is that I create distractions/challenges unrelated to anything else, in combination with keeping it "pure" and to "the core" of things. I can't even call it a habit these days, though I used to be quite hardcore at it, as I haven't used it much during the last 10 years, but am now getting back to it.

Having said that I love the look of nice cli software, especially when there is a lot of it on screen(s) at the same time. As close as I get to feel like a "hacker" in the eyes of "normal people" I guess, haha.

I just realised that you guys are on Mastodon so I'll keep the formatting simple (I had this written down with Markdown links and all, but I know that doesn't render well on Mastodon), but these are some of the software mentioned in this and another thread I have, so might as well summarise it here too:

Mail - NeoMutt with isync/mbsync
Calendar - khal with vdirsyncer
Todo - Taskwarrior or Todoman
Notes - nb
Bookmarks - nb
Knowledge base - nb
Editor - vim + addons
Terminal - Terminator or tmux and/or byobu
Shell - zsh
Shell add-on - Starship
File manager - Midnight Commander / ranger / nnn
Music player - ncmpc
Spotify client - ncspot
Disk usage - ncdu
Package manager - Homebrew
Torrent - RTorrent

I haven't gotten to add various chat/communication software to that list. I used to run all the "messengers" (MSN/ICQ/FB and of course IRC) in cli, but I haven't even started my refresh on those areas just yet, and now it would be more like Signal/XMPP/Matrix etc I guess.

@mathias @academicalnerd

Just a quick note: we are both an instance where we get the full HTML/Markdown experience. Go ahead with all your multimedia and rich formatting. Qoto is not a normal Mastodon instance in this aspect, more like Misskey or Friendica.

@mathias @FailForward

Thanks for the list! I use some of these, although for knowledgebase and notes I find obsidian quite good. Not cli, but it runs smoothly and available on windows. And alacritty as a terminal is surprisingly good, tbh.

As for package manager - stock apt from my ubuntu-based pop-os is just good enough :p

@academicalnerd @FailForward

Obsidian looks very interesting! Thanks!

I just today checked out Pop!_OS. It looks amazing. Also it looks like they have incorporated quite a few things from tiling window managers that I am striving for when I use Xmonad (which is what I've used).

Otherwise I have previously always been using Ubuntu based stuff, based on that I know apt, and I figured it would be simpler to get things exactly how I want them if I know how to install them. I have traditionally been going for Ubuntu minimal server (which used to be 12mb, basically apt and nothing else) and then install things as and when I need them.

I am right now doing my first foray in to Manjaro (and thereby Arch eco-system). Arch has always scared me previously, but I have to say, right now I'm loving it, and the flexibility I get. In the "appstore" I've enabled all the options, which means I get access to all the AUR stuff, Snap stuff etc, but I love that it gives me the option to "build" already from within the store. Some things though are so easily installed via Homebrew (I'm typing this on a Mac) that I install it whenever I have the option to do so, and a lot of the software mentioned come with Homebrew install options, which handle permissions automatically in a way that I like.

Anyways, shall be checking out Obsidian now, and see if I can sync whatever it spits out via Git etc and we might be on to a winner for GUI based knowledge base apps (where I today am using a Mac-only app).

@mathias @FailForward
My laptop is on pop os with xmonad wm on top, works great. Although the pc is still on windows :(

@academicalnerd @FailForward

Why would you need Xmonad wm on top of Pop!_OS? I mean, if you are running the version I see on their current web site it looks like it already does the tiling and then some with incredible control. I love Xmonad, and that is what I’m installing on my Manjaro box this week, but I’m well impressed by that Pop!_OS video on their web site.

I too am stuck with various things and operating systems, for various reasons. That is actually another reason to why I’m doing ”my own thing” on the machines where I can, to kill some of the frustration with non-options on other machines. :)

@mathias @FailForward
I just wanted to try something very configurable and minimal. Yeah, it is very good out of the box, I agree.

@academicalnerd @mathias I personally find this thing with tiling window managers somewhat overdone. Not my personal taste, honestly.

I am a workspaces person and I am running dual-head setup. And the most tiling I do is half-screen. To follow-up on @mathias ‘s image, this is how it goes for me

  1. WS1: calendar, mutt + active FF
  2. WS2: extensive browsing - like 7 FF windows, just because I am messy
  3. WS3: full or half-screen terminals for devel and work
  4. WS4: document writing: LyX, LO Writer/Calc

And a load of monitoring taskbar extensions + fullscreen Matrix/Element anywhere where needed.

@FailForward @mathias
That editing though: shitload -> load :D
On a serious note, I tend to use fullscreen stuff for the sake of focus. Sometimes it’s splitscreen on windows, 50/50 between brave browser and whatever else, most of the time qt creator or matlab.
And in linux… Well, I tend to have 3-4 terminal apps in different workspaces, there is no real pattern there. Whatever works at the moment, that’s the advantage of twm.

@mathias @academicalnerd

On using Obsidian, Foam and such

I am using Obsidian as well. I admit, I am a bit annoyed with its vim mode, but that’s marginal. Generally, I quite like it, but I would like to move away from it, as I decided with moving all my notes towards Jekyll+git+GitLab Pages setup (and I am like 80% done). For this reason, I came back to MS Visual Studio Code and Foam. Some things are good (as VS Code is good generally), but I am infinitely frustrated by VimCode and neovim extensions to a point where I want to throw all this away.

Apart from editor troubles, where both Obsidian and Foam are failing me are links and keeping connections when I move a page. I want my links to be standard Markdown relative links to other notes and to pictures. But then, I want the thing to help me when I move a note to a different folder to keep relative links fine. And both are failing me with that. Maybe I am doing something wrong there, don’t know…

Actually the tool which is really good at this was QOwnNotes, but that is failing me on the general UX/UI level. So it might well be that I will end with my standard low-level solutions: terminal, bash, grep and vim.

@FailForward @academicalnerd

You guys are full of great tools and links! :D

I think the main problem with many of these type of "systems" is to either fully commit to one, and jump in completely at the deep end, OR to have a very clear and divided plan for "what information goes in to what system". Testing things with limited "dummy data" or just "nuggets" of information, like I again currently am doing, doesn't actually give a proper/fair view of strengths nor shortcomings.

The thing I like with nb is that it obviously is natively compatible with git. I have lately been steering more and more things towards git. The downside is the lack of gui on other platforms than my cli linux.

I currently am using Devonthink, which is a Mac-only software, for collecting things and, more importantly, finding them again. That in turn can use (in my case) Dropbox (private stuff) and Onedrive (work stuff) and still have a unified interface that keeps the separation between the two. The obvious main downside is that I can't use it as an application on my work machine. The benefit is that I can still take, say, "meeting notes" in markdown and save it in a relevant (cloud) folder and it will be picked up and indexed by Devonthink, which also has decent iOS apps (and I need to use iOS for other reasons).

At the same time I'm looking at perhaps NOT using Github/Gitlab or, for that matter, services that fall under US legislation (for privacy reasons). That would exclude Dropbox, Onedrive and Digital Ocean (my VPS provider) too, and all of a sudden it turns either quite complex or very costly, especially if I wish to keep some redundancy as well as platform independence but still being reachable with it all from all platforms.


re storage: haha! I read you! :-) In the end I gravitated towards owning my own NAS at home. And since QNAP gives you containers and VMs, that turns out into a low powered home (media) server. Which is a whole new set of synchronisaton fun :-).


@FailForward @academicalnerd I had some time over today so I decided to set up Foam on Gitlab and also to ensure all the SSH keys etc were in place, so installed it on my iMac, my Linux box as well as my work machine (Win X). It all feels quite good so far.

Like you I'm trying to ensure I in general have my stuff stored in plain files with markdown, and to sync via git, and foam fulfills both those areas just fine. Going to give it a go for a couple of days to see how it "feels" and if I find some pain-points for me.

I passed your tip on regarding QOwnNotes to a mate who is exploring everything Nextcloud/Owncloud at the moment. To me it looked workable when just reading about it on the site, but that is not me trying it of course.

As for persistent linking etc: I hear you. The only tool I'm currently using that does that REALLY well is, sadly, Devonthink (which, as previously noted, is Mac only). It doesn't really matter where I move files, the link you see and the link it created when you said you wanted a link are not really related, so each file has their own unique link regardless of how you decide to use it. On a desktop level that is great of course. It also works fine on their mobile app, as the unique link is synced, and means the same regardless of platform used (which is limited to start with then, as it is a closed eco-system).

Back on Foam, I'm going to give it a try to create some daily journals, an idea I've been toying with in general, though I've never written a diary or similar, take notes and also create blog article drafts, as my blog is all static with markdown too, so shouldn't be too complicated to move articles between them.
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